A SAFE START TO EX­ER­CISE

Best Health - - YOU -

Are you plan­ning to ramp up your fit­ness in 2019? Eas­ing into the scene is the best way to stay healthy. Nsuani Baf­foe, a Toronto re­gional man­ager of per­sonal train­ing for GoodLife Fit­ness, shares the best strate­gies to pre­vent post-work­out pains.

START WHERE YOU ARE. Baf­foe says many of us make the mis­take of launch­ing into a new ac­tiv­ity when we’ve been in­ac­tive for a while, think­ing that we’re in the same shape we were in when we stopped ex­er­cis­ing. But it’s im­por­tant to rec­og­nize where we are now and ac­cept that progress takes time.

GET AS­SESSED. A per­sonal trainer or chi­ro­prac­tor can eval­u­ate which mus­cles in your body are tight and which ones are weak, then give you tar­geted move­ments to work on those ar­eas. Treat­ing these lit­tle im­bal­ances from the get-go will en­sure that you can per­form move­ments prop­erly and are not over­com­pen­sat­ing with other mus­cles, which can lead to repet­i­tive move­ment in­juries down the road.

DO SOME SE­RI­OUS STRETCH­ING. Baf­foe rec­om­mends stretch­ing be­fore you start a new work­out — not just for a few min­utes but for a few ses­sions. “If you’ve sat at a desk for years with­out work­ing out, that’s a lot of ten­sion in the body,” he says. “The first four or five work­outs might just be hold­ing stretches for two to five min­utes.” Once you’re com­fort­able, hold them for 30 to 90 sec­onds.

FO­CUS ON THE WHOLE BODY. De­vot­ing a full hour at the gym to your legs or abs might seem like a good idea, but it can over­load mus­cles that aren’t used to work­ing that hard. “That’s a lot of work for any spe­cific body part when it hasn’t been trained,” says Baf­foe. “To­tal body is al­ways best to start be­cause you’re cre­at­ing healthy da­m­age to ev­ery part on a smaller scale, so you can re­cover bet­ter.”

DON’T IG­NORE WHAT YOU FEEL. When you ex­pe­ri­ence even small pains, men­tion them to a per­sonal trainer or ath­letic ther­a­pist. If you don’t fix the root of the issue, chances are that it will cause big­ger prob­lems over time. And in the event that you ex­pe­ri­ence a more se­vere pain — say, a pop or a twist — see a sports doc­tor.

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